Once again Elizabeth Vaughan takes us to a world beyond our imagination and builds a story with characters that touch our hearts. Despite being a novel set in a fictional realm, Ms. Vaughan’s characters have the same feelings and issues that plague many of us. She returns us once more to the world of the Warlands as we learn the answer to what happened to the budding attraction between Bethral and Ezren.
Bethral’s whole life is about being a warrior. She knows no other way to be. She currently works as a bodyguard for the new Queen and is content with her life. The only troublesome area is her feelings towards Ezren. Bethral knows that he will never be attracted to her. He lives in the keep and associates with the wealthy ladies. He would never seek out a common warrior.
Ezren Storyteller was captured, tortured and enslaved. He owes his life to Bethral and her timely rescue of him from his captors. During his captivity, Ezren was imbued with Wild Magic. He cannot contain this magic and when it takes over, he finds himself a danger to those around him. He knows that Bethral still views him as a weak man and with the uncontrollable magic, he can never be the man that she deserves.
Then the unthinkable happens, Ezren’s wild magic threatens the Queen and Bethral must choose between them. Her choice results in a portal to the Plains and more danger for both she and Ezren. Now the warrior-priests are after Ezren and his magic. Can Bethral save him? Will their feelings for each other be revealed?
Elizabeth Vaughan has the ability to transport her readers to another time and place while giving us enough of the familiar that we want to travel with her. Her characters are realistic and deal with the emotions that we can all understand. Both Bethral and Ezren fear making their feelings for each other known. They don’t want to face rejection when the other person cannot return the attraction. As readers, we all understand that fear. We know the courage it takes to speak up and how a push from an outsider may be what is needed.
The Warlands are unfamiliar territory for most of us, but Ms. Vaughan doesn’t allow her readers to feel like unwelcome visitors to this new land. She becomes our tour guide and gives us the information we need to understand the natives of this place and how they relate and interact. We understand the customs of the Plains people as she has Bethral explain them to Ezren. Ms. Vaughan is deeply aware that her setting might make some of her readers uncomfortable, but she does everything she can to make sure we settle right in and enjoy the trip.